S.D. hearing set for low-THC hemp rules

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s proposed rules for industrial hemp will soon get a public hearing.

State government officials set the meeting for Friday, November 13, at 10 a.m. CT in the Matthew Training Center, attached to the Foss Building, at 523 E. Capitol Avenue in Pierre.

The state Department of Agriculture and the state Department of Public Safety also will take written comments. Those must be received by November 24 to be considered.

The 21 pages of rules cover a range of topics from licensing to inspections. State officials estimate about $90,000 will come from fees in the first year, based on 65 growers and four processors.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved South Dakota’s 54-page plan earlier this month. The Legislature in March approved a bill legalizing hemp with a THC level of no more than 0.3% after reaching a compromise with Governor Kristi Noem on funding.

The governor vetoed a legalization bill in 2019. “There is no question in my mind that normalizing hemp, like legalizing medical marijuana, is part of a larger strategy to undermine enforcement of the drug laws and make legalized marijuana inevitable,” her message said in part.

Taya Runyan, the state’s agricultural services director, said Friday afternoon that Runyan had sent an email earlier in the day to people involved in industrial hemp.

Runyan’s message included this explanation: “The state plan was submitted to The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on August 11, 2020. In September, USDA sent feedback and requested edits to the initial plan. A revised plan was resubmitted on October 9, 2020. Final approval of the South Dakota Industrial Hemp plan was received from USDA on October 15, 2020.”

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